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Recording Studio Design, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Recording Studio Design is essential reading for anyone involved in building, renovating and maintaining recording studios. Good acoustics in a recording studio is crucial to the success of a project, and the financial implications of failure means getting things right first time is essential. In straightforward language Newell covers the key basic principles of acoustics, electro-acoustics and psychoacoustics and their application to studio design. Fully updated to reflect current technology and practice additional sections include digital signal processing, design for soundtrack mixing and foley rooms, providing a complete reference offering real solutions to help improve the success rate of any studio.

*Provides great detail on the practical recording application in various acoustic environments
*Complex issues are explained and real solutions provided
*Benifit from Newell's years of experience, designing over 200 studios including Manor and Town House Studios

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. About the author
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. Preface
  8. Preface to Second Edition
  9. Introduction
  10. Chapter 1: General requirements and common errors
    1. 1.1. The general requirements
    2. 1.2. Sound isolation and background noise levels
      1. 1.2.1 From the inside out
      2. 1.2.2 From the outside in
      3. 1.2.3 Realistic goals
      4. 1.2.4 Isolation versus artistry
    3. 1.3. Confidence in the system
    4. 1.4. The complete system
    5. 1.5. Very common mistakes
      1. 1.5.1 The need for space
      2. 1.5.2 Height
      3. 1.5.3 Floor loading
      4. 1.6. Summary
  11. Chapter 2: Sound, decibels and hearing
    1. 2.1. Perception of sound
    2. 2.2. Sound itself
    3. 2.3. The decibel; sound power, sound pressure and sound intensity
      1. 2.3.1 The dBA and dBC scales
    4. 2.4. Human hearing
      1. 2.4.1 Chacun A Son Oreille
    5. 2.5. Summary
    6. References
    7. Bibliography
  12. Chapter 3: Sound isolation
    1. 3.1. Vibrational behaviour
      1. 3.1.1 Relevance to isolation
    2. 3.2. Basic isolation concepts
      1. 3.2.1 Damping and the mass law
      2. 3.2.2 Floating structures
      3. 3.2.3 Floating system choices
    3. 3.3. Practical floors
      1. 3.3.1 Floors on weak sub-floors
    4. 3.4. Ceiling isolation
      1. 3.4.1 A trip through the ceiling
    5. 3.5. Summing the results
      1. 3.5.1 Internal reflexions
    6. 3.6. Wall isolation
    7. 3.7. Lighter weight isolation systems
    8. 3.8. Reciprocity and impact noises
    9. 3.9. The distance option
    10. 3.10. Discussion and analysis
      1. 3.10.1 Fibrous and cellular springs – thicknesses and densities
      2. 3.10.2 The general situation with masses and springs
      3. 3.10.3 Measured characteristics of various suspension materials
      4. 3.10.4 Calculation of resonance frequency
    11. 3.11. Summary
    12. Reference
    13. Bibliography
  13. Chapter 4: Room acoustics and means of control
    1. 4.1. Internal expansion
    2. 4.2. Modes
    3. 4.3. Flutter echoes and transient phenomena
    4. 4.4. Reverberation
      1. 4.4.1 Measuring reverberation time
    5. 4.5. Absorption
      1. 4.5.1 Speed of sound in gases
      2. 4.5.2 Other properties of fibrous materials
      3. 4.5.3 Absorption coefficients
      4. 4.5.4 Porous absorption
      5. 4.5.5 Resonant absorbers
      6. 4.5.6 Membrane absorbers
    6. 4.6. Q and damping
    7. 4.7. Diffusion
    8. 4.8. Diffraction
    9. 4.9. Refraction
    10. 4.10. Review
    11. 4.11. Summary
    12. References
    13. Bibliography
  14. Chapter 5: Designing neutral rooms
    1. 5.1. Background
    2. 5.2. Large neutral rooms
    3. 5.3. Practical realisation of a neutral room
      1. 5.3.1 Floors
      2. 5.3.2 Shapes, sizes and modes
      3. 5.3.3 From isolation shell towards neutrality
      4. 5.3.4 Lower frequency control
      5. 5.3.5 Relative merits of neutrality and idiosyncrasy
    4. 5.4. What is parallel?
    5. 5.5. Reflexions, reverberation and diffusion
    6. 5.6. Floor and ceiling considerations
    7. 5.7. Wall treatments
    8. 5.8. Small and neutral
      1. 5.8.1 Practical constructions
      2. 5.8.2 The journey of the sound waves
      3. 5.8.3 The pressure zone
      4. 5.8.4 Wall losses
      5. 5.8.5 Transfer of sound between high and low densities
      6. 5.8.6 Combined effects of losses
      7. 5.8.7 A micro-problem
    9. 5.9. Trims
    10. 5.10. The degree of neutrality – an overview
    11. 5.11. Dialogue recording rooms
    12. 5.12. Summary
    13. References
    14. Bibliography
  15. Chapter 6: Rooms with characteristic acoustics
    1. 6.1. Definitions
    2. 6.2. A brief history of idiosyncrasy
      1. 6.2.1 From a room to a classic
      2. 6.2.2 Limited, or priceless?
    3. 6.3. Drawbacks of the containment shells
    4. 6.4. Design considerations
      1. 6.4.1 Room character differences
    5. 6.5. Driving and collecting the rooms
    6. 6.6. Evolution of stone rooms
      1. 6.6.1 Construction options
    7. 6.7. Live versus electronic reverberation
    8. 6.8. The 20% rule
    9. 6.9. Reverberant rooms and bright rooms – reflexion and diffusion
      1. 6.9.1 Bright rooms
    10. 6.10. Low frequency considerations in live rooms
    11. 6.11. General comments on live rooms
    12. 6.12. Orchestral rooms
      1. 6.12.1 Choice of venues, and musicians’ needs
    13. 6.13. RT considerations
    14. 6.14. Fixed studio environments
    15. 6.15. Psychoacoustic considerations and spacial awareness
    16. 6.16. Dead rooms
    17. 6.17. Foley rooms
    18. 6.18. Summary
    19. References
    20. Bibliography
  16. Chapter 7: Variable acoustics
    1. 7.1. The geometry of change
    2. 7.2. Small room considerations
    3. 7.3. Summary
  17. Chapter 8: Room combinations and operational considerations
    1. 8.1. Options and influences
      1. 8.1.1 Demands from control rooms
    2. 8.2. Layout of rooms
      1. 8.2.1 Priorities and practice
    3. 8.3. Isolation considerations: doors and windows
      1. 8.3.1 Sliding doors
      2. 8.3.2 Window systems
      3. 8.3.3 Multiple glazing considerations
      4. 8.3.4 High degrees of isolation
    4. 8.4. The Geddes approach
    5. 8.5. Recording techniques for limited acoustics
      1. 8.5.1 Moving musicians and changing microphones
    6. 8.6. A compact studio
    7. 8.7. Review
    8. 8.8. Typical isolation door construction
    9. 8.9. Summary
    10. References
  18. Chapter 9: The studio environment
    1. 9.1. Some human needs
      1. 9.1.1 Daylight
      2. 9.1.2 Artificial light
      3. 9.1.3 Ease and comfort
    2. 9.2. Ventilation and air-conditioning
      1. 9.2.1 Ventilation
      2. 9.2.2 Air-conditioning systems and general mechanical noises
    3. 9.3. Headphone foldback
      1. 9.3.1 Loudspeaker foldback
    4. 9.4. Colours, and general decoration
    5. 9.5. AC mains supplies
      1. 9.5.1 Phase
      2. 9.5.2 Power cabling
      3. 9.5.3 Balanced power
      4. 9.5.4 Mains feeds
      5. 9.5.5 Earthing
    6. 9.6. Summary
    7. Reference
  19. Chapter 10: Limitations to design predictions
    1. 10.1. Room responses
      1. 10.1.1 The envelope of the impulse response, and reverberation time
      2. 10.1.2 Schroeder plots
      3. 10.1.3 Energy/time curves
      4. 10.1.4 Waterfall plots
      5. 10.1.5 Directional effects
    2. 10.2. Scale models
    3. 10.3. Computer models
    4. 10.4. Sound pulse modelling
    5. 10.5. Light ray modelling
    6. 10.6. Ripple tank modelling
    7. 10.7. Measurement of absorption coefficients
    8. 10.8. Review
    9. 10.9. Summary
    10. References
  20. Chapter 11: Loudspeakers in rooms
    1. 11.1. From the studio to the control room
    2. 11.2. Room influences
      1. 11.2.1 Radiation patterns
      2. 11.2.2 Loading by boundaries
      3. 11.2.3 Dipole considerations
      4. 11.2.4 Diffraction sources
    3. 11.3. Room reverberation and the critical distance
    4. 11.4. Sound power radiation
    5. 11.5. Corrective measures
      1. 11.5.1 Minimum and non-minimum phase
      2. 11.5.2 Digital correction techniques
      3. 11.5.3 Related problems in loudspeakers
      4. 11.5.4 Summary of correct applications of equalisation
      5. 11.5.5 The modulation transfer function and its implications for electronic room correction
      6. 11.5.6 Electronic bass-traps
    6. 11.6. Phase and time
    7. 11.7. The black art
    8. 11.8. Summary
    9. References
    10. Bibliography
  21. Chapter 12: Flattening the room response
    1. 12.1. Electronic correction concerns
    2. 12.2. The standard room
      1. 12.2.1 Beyond the standard room
    3. 12.3. The anechoic chamber
    4. 12.4. The hybrid room
    5. 12.5. A BBC solution
    6. 12.6. On listening rooms in general
    7. 12.7. Close-field monitoring
    8. 12.8. Summary
    9. References
  22. Chapter 13: Control rooms
    1. 13.1. The advent of specialised control rooms
      1. 13.1.1 Geometrically controlled rooms
      2. 13.1.2 Directional dual acoustics
      3. 13.1.3 The LEDE
      4. 13.1.4 The Non-Environment
      5. 13.1.5 Toyoshima rooms
    2. 13.2. Built-in monitors
    3. 13.3. Directional acoustics
    4. 13.4. Scaling problems
    5. 13.5. The pressure zone
    6. 13.6. One system
    7. 13.7. Aspects of small control room designs
      1. 13.7.1 Conflicting requirements
      2. 13.7.2 Active absorbers
    8. 13.8. A short overview
    9. 13.9. Summary
    10. References
    11. Bibliography
  23. Chapter 14: The behaviour of multiple loudspeakers in rooms
    1. 14.1. Mono sources
    2. 14.2. Stereo sources
    3. 14.3. Steady-state performance
    4. 14.4. Transient considerations
    5. 14.5. The pan-pot dilemma
    6. 14.6. Limitations, exceptions and multi-channel considerations
    7. 14.7. Surround in practice
    8. 14.8. A general view
    9. 14.9. Summary
    10. References
    11. Bibliography
  24. Chapter 15: Studio monitoring: the principal objectives
    1. 15.1. The forces at work
    2. 15.2. Where is the reference?
    3. 15.3. Different needs
    4. 15.4. What is right?
    5. 15.5. Close-field monitoring
    6. 15.6. Why the NS10M?
    7. 15.7. General needs
    8. 15.8. Summary
    9. References
    10. Bibliography
  25. Chapter 16: The Non-Environment control room
    1. 16.1. Introduction
    2. 16.2. Sources of uncertainty
    3. 16.3. Removing a variable
    4. 16.4. Limitations, real and imaginary
    5. 16.5. Spacial anomalies
    6. 16.6. Solutions
    7. 16.7. Stereo imaging constraints
    8. 16.8. The concept of stereo as currently used
    9. 16.9. Conflicts and definitions
    10. 16.10. A parallel issue
    11. 16.11. Prior art and established ideas
    12. 16.12. The zero option – the origins of the philosophy
    13. 16.13. Summary
    14. References
  26. Chapter 17: The Live-End, Dead-End approach
    1. 17.1. First impressions
    2. 17.2. A window of objectivity
    3. 17.3. Working and listening environments
    4. 17.4. Summary
    5. References
    6. Bibliography
  27. Chapter 18: Response disturbances due to mixing consoles and studio furniture
    1. 18.1. The sound of mixing consoles
    2. 18.2. Equipment racks
    3. 18.3. Computer and video monitoring
    4. 18.4. Sofas
    5. 18.5. Effects and equipment racks
    6. 18.6. Close-field monitors
    7. 18.7. General commentary
    8. 18.8. Summary
    9. Bibliography
  28. Chapter 19: Objective measurement and subjective evaluations
    1. 19.1. Objective testing
      1. 19.1.1 Pressure amplitude responses
      2. 19.1.2 Harmonic distortion
      3. 19.1.3 Directivity
      4. 19.1.4 Acoustic source
      5. 19.1.5 Step-function response
      6. 19.1.6 The power cepstrum
    2. 19.2. The on-axis pressure amplitude response
    3. 19.3. Harmonic distortion
      1. 19.3.1 Intermodulation distortion
    4. 19.4. Directivity – off-axis frequency responses
    5. 19.5. Acoustic source
    6. 19.6. Step-function responses
    7. 19.7. Power cepstra
    8. 19.8. Waterfalls
    9. 19.9. General discussion of results
    10. 19.10. The enigmatic NS10
    11. 19.11. The NS10M – a more objective view
      1. 19.11.1 Specifications and measurements
      2. 19.11.2 Discussion of results vis-à-vis subjective perception
      3. 19.11.3 Conclusions
    12. 19.12. The noise of conflict
    13. 19.13. Summary
    14. References
  29. Chapter 20: Studio monitoring systems
    1. 20.1. The constituents of the system
    2. 20.2. Console monitor circuitry
    3. 20.3. Audio cables and connectors
    4. 20.4. Monitor amplifiers
    5. 20.5. Loudspeaker cables
    6. 20.6. Crossovers
      1. 20.6.1 Passive crossovers
      2. 20.6.2 Active crossovers
      3. 20.6.3 Crossover characteristics
      4. 20.6.4 Slopes and shapes
      5. 20.6.5 Digital crossovers
    7. 20.7. Loudspeaker cabinets
      1. 20.7.1 Cabinet mounting
      2. 20.7.2 Cabinet concepts
      3. 20.7.3 Mounting practices and bass roll-offs
    8. 20.8. Loudspeaker drive units
      1. 20.8.1 Low frequency driver considerations
      2. 20.8.2 Efficiency and sensitivity
      3. 20.8.3 Magnet systems and cone materials
      4. 20.8.4 High frequency loudspeakers
      5. 20.8.5 Mid-range loudspeaker
        1. 20.8.5.1 Cone drivers
        2. 20.8.5.2 Dome drivers
        3. 20.8.5.3 Mid-range horn loudspeakers
    9. 20.9. Review
    10. 20.10. Summary
    11. References
    12. Bibliography
  30. Chapter 21: Surround sound and control rooms
    1. 21.1. Surround in the cinemas
    2. 21.2. TV surround
    3. 21.3. Music-only surround
    4. 21.4. An interim conclusion
    5. 21.5. The psychoacoustics of surround sound
    6. 21.6. Rear channel concepts
    7. 21.7. Perceived responses
      1. 21.7.1 The simple discrete source
      2. 21.7.2 The multiple distributed source
      3. 21.7.3 Dipole surround loudspeakers
      4. 21.7.4 Diffuse sources
    8. 21.8. Low frequencies and surround
      1. 21.8.1 Music-only low frequencies
      2. 21.8.2 Processed multiple sub-woofers
    9. 21.9. Close-field surround monitoring
    10. 21.10. Practical design solutions
      1. 21.10.1 The choice of rear loudspeakers
    11. 21.11. Other compromises, other results
    12. 21.12. Dubbing theatres
      1. 21.12.1 Room-to-room compatibility
      2. 21.12.2 The X-curve
    13. 21.13. Summary
    14. References
    15. Bibliography
  31. Chapter 22: Human factors
    1. 22.1. The ambiance of the occasion
    2. 22.2. The subjectivity of monitoring
    3. 22.3. Conditioning and expectations
    4. 22.4. Lack of reference points in human judgements
    5. 22.5. Studios and control rooms
    6. 22.6. Summary
    7. References
  32. Chapter 23: A mobile control room
    1. 23.1. The problems to be solved
      1. 23.1.1 Electronic control limitations
      2. 23.1.2 Space problems
    2. 23.2. The vehicle
    3. 23.3. Acoustic discussion
      1. 23.3.1 Rear wall absorber
      2. 23.3.2 Frequency breakdown
      3. 23.3.3 Side wall reflexions
    4. 23.4. Close-range monitoring
    5. 23.5. Directivity and total power
    6. 23.6. Attaching a sub-woofer
      1. 23.6.1 The appropriate equalisation
    7. 23.7. Results
    8. 23.8. Conclusions
    9. 23.9. Summary
    10. References
  33. Chapter 24: Foldback
    1. 24.1. A virtual world
    2. 24.2. Constant voltage distribution
    3. 24.3. Stereo or mono
    4. 24.4. In-studio mixing
    5. 24.5. Types of headphones
    6. 24.6. Connectors
    7. 24.7. Overview
    8. 24.8. Summary
  34. Chapter 25: Main supplies and earthing systems
    1. 25.1. The ground plane
    2. 25.2. Low impedance supplies
    3. 25.3. The number of phases
      1. 25.3.1 Why one phase only?
    4. 25.4. Line filters and power conditioners
    5. 25.5. Balanced power
    6. 25.6. A general overview
    7. 25.7. Summary
    8. References
    9. Bibliography
  35. Chapter 26: Analogue audio interfacing
    1. 26.1. The origins of the professional interfaces
    2. 26.2. Jackfields (Patchbays)
      1. 26.2.1 Balanced to unbalanced problems
    3. 26.3. Jacks – 2 or 3 pole?
    4. 26.4. Avoiding chaos
    5. 26.5. Multiple signal path considerations
    6. 26.6. Grounding of signal screens
    7. 26.7. Balanced versus unbalanced – no obvious choice
    8. 26.8. Sixteen options for one cable
    9. 26.9. Some comments
    10. 26.10. Summary
    11. References
    12. Bibliography
  36. Appendix 1
  37. Appendix 2
  38. Appendix 3
  39. Appendix 4
  40. Glossary of terms
  41. Index